Thursday, August 30, 2012

Livin Life

Came up to eat lunch, and couldn't find any of my friends, so I decided to have some alone time. Grabbed my plate of stuffed baked potato, and sat at a small table looking out a window, and pulled out my laptop to journal a bit.
Coffee has become my very best friend(Sorry Emily, Caitlin, Lydia, and Lexy) as dorm life keeps me up late, and class wakes me up early. They warned me on my first day here that sleep deprivation is the number one cause of college illness. What I didn't realize thought was just how easy it is to not get enough sleep. Today though, I had so much fun, when I got out of class, and propped up a makeshift pillow on a bench, and took a nap this is a good potato...ehem... It was splendid, laying there, feeling the hot sun on my face, the warm wind blowing through the leaves on the trees, and birds chirping in their own kind of melody. I keep having these awe ha moments where I feel like I have truly found paradise.
As I sit here in the cafeteria writing this, a guy dropped his plate and made a loud crash. The entire cafeteria, at least 300 people, broke out in applause. I am fascinated enough to want to mention it!
I have now had 2 of every class but PE. My first PE class is tonight. However I have used the gym and swam in the pool, and from those experiences, I think I am going to love PE.
In my psychology class they are going over the different types of psychology fields. The professor told a story of a student he had in the past, who wanted nothing more than to graduate with a degree from ORU, but her schizophrenia was so severe she could not complete any of her classes. He talked about how hard the entire faculty and staff tried to help her dream come true, but she simply could not pass the classes. They eventually allowed her to sit in on the twice a week chapel, to still feel like an ORU student, but even then, her sickness worsened everyday to the point she began to get physically ill from poor hygiene. They finally had to help get her into a permanent mental illness ward, and she never got to complete her ORU education. My teacher finished the story by saying, "Every year I watch my students walk across that stage and receive their degree and I think of her and wonder, `Do these people have any idea just how blessed they are to be graduating from ORU?'"
He mentioned people will tell us we are fortunate to have the money, to have the support, to have the brains, to be able to graduate. But his message to us is that we are blessed to even have the mental ability to go to class. He ended with the inspirational word, "That woman wanted nothing more in life than to graduate from ORU. But she was never able to. You are living her dream. Make it count." I was telling my bestie Lydia everything he said, she pointed out, "That's so amazing. The teacher cared about her so much, that he tells her story to all his students. So even though she couldn't graduate, her time there has had a lasting impact that inspires other students. He helped make her time there worth it."
I had another class, which the college president Mark Rutland, teaches. He told a story that I am writing in this blog because I want to remember it forever. He said he was going to school in Maryland. He had a teacher who was a passionate atheist. One day the teacher found out Dr. Rutland was becoming a minister, so he made him stand up in class and asked, "So Mark, you are a Christian? Do you believe God can do everything?" "Yes." "So can God make a rock so big God cannot lift it?" "Yes." "Then God can't do it!"
Dr. Rutland then said, "I wish I could go back and take that class again, and tell that teacher what I know today. Because today I could stop him at his first statemnet and say the truth that no, God CANNOT do EVERTHING! God cannot lie, he cannot break his promises, God cannot sin, God cannot quit being God!" I loved that and I want to remember it for all my life! So I am documenting it here. :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Just a theory

Last night at ORU we had worship in the prayer gardens. It was a student led meeting to worship and pray for this new school year. It was a great event with hundreds of students and the college president's wife. Alison Rutland shared a story of praying over her bologna sandwich, when God gave her a vision. She spoke of how every moment could be a God moment.
This made me think of my time at DHS. There were things I saw that tore me to pieces, and I would have to go to the restroom or my car and just cry. I would cry for the children and I would cry out to God. Even in a state agency where God is more or less a forbidden topic, I had intimate moments with God as he dealt with my broken heart.
Then there were times I listened to God and amazing things happened. Like when deciding whether or not to stop for gas with a foster kid in the car. Just as I came to a red light and decided to get gas at the next right, I felt I was supposed to be in the left lane. I scooted into the left lane and decided to get gas after dropping the child off. Just as I got out of the right lane and was waiting impatiently for the light to turn green, a semi came screeching up in the right lane. His brakes were not working right, and he was struggling to stop. It hit the car in front, but had stopped in time to only leave a dent in the rear fender. As the two drivers popped their heads out their windows and began a shouting match, I realized that the only reason no one was hurt in the collision, is because the semi had the extra 10 feet of stopping space. I looked at the damage to the back of the car hit, and the dent in the front of the semi, then looked to the back seat of the car I was driving. I saw the precious baby girl, who had already had an unimaginably hard life in her 3 years, staring curiously at the two shouting men, and knew that if I had stayed in the right lane, her life would have ended, as our car would have been crushed.
There was another time I was going to pick up a little boy, and take him to an appointment. Before I left the office, I had been warned by his social worker, several DHS staff, and both his foster parents called to warn me, that he had severe separation and stranger anxiety, so be prepared for him to panic, hit, scream, and fight me. When I got inside the foster home he saw me and started crying. Right then I started silently praying for God to bring him peace. His foster mom then handed me his diaper bag, and picked him up to hand to me. When she approached me with the 18 month old, he wailed dramatically, but reached out his hands for me. When he was in my arms, I continued to silently pray for peace, his crying stopped. His foster mom seemed surprised that he was so content. She asked if that meant I had worked with him before(I had not). By the time we got to the car, he was giggling. When we drove down the road, he mumbled along to the songs I sang for him. When we got to his destination, the receptionist said this was the first time she had seem him not crying. I handed the child to the family therapist, and he said the boy had never gone into his arms without a struggle before. As I turned to walk away, I said bye to the boy, and he smiled and waved, "Bye".
I could ramble on with stories of way more intense things that happened than these stories, but I tell these stories for a purpose. This morning I chatted briefly with a friend about the worship night, the night before. He said to me, "It just doesn't feel like the anointing got to set in last night. I didn't fully feel God there."
I didn't have the chance to ask him, but I wanted to know, what qualifies as God really being there?! You didn't feel God there...why not?
All of these thoughts fill my head, not just on what this particular friend said, but on memories of numerous people saying the same thing. I want to shake them and say, "God is not a feeling." I think music naturally has an emotional effect on people. I can get more emotional singing a country song, "Sarabeth was scared to death cause the doctor just told her the news" than any given Sunday singing, "Yaweah holy holy." Because someone went to a service, where the music wasn't that great, or the sermon was somewhat boring, doesn't mean the spirit of God was not there.
For me it doesn't take having an emotional experience to know God is there. God is in every moment of the is up to me seeing his moving. I did not have goose bumps all over me, or break out in tongues when I heard the little guy start crying. I did not hear some great revelation from the sky saying, "Thus sayeth the Lord, Ye shalt go to the left lane!" It was small, everyday, normal actions at work; but I most definitely consider them amazing God moments.
My theory is that God is moving in every action through out our day. We just don't have the wisdom or attention span to always see it. It is a lack of us noticing it, not a lack of us calling him in. Worship can have a huge emotional impact on our God experience, but again, I think the times we do see miracles happening in a worship service, it has more to do with the individual taking more time to look for that healing. For me, worship is not the time of day to serve God, it is the time of day to thank God for all he has done. The rest of the day is when the serving really happens. I was serving God by changing lanes and sparing that girls life. I was serving God when praying for peace, when the boy had not had others pray for him.
It seems to me lots of people live with the theory of needing to ask God to come to them. With that theory, they only think to ask for him to come once or twice a week during worship services when our emotions are telling us to call on God. God will draw near to those who call on him, but I'd rather walk with him through out everyday, rather than ask him to come near twice a week, and then be disappointed when I don't get into the right mood. I follow his voice when he gives direction, even sometimes with out realizing he is speaking, like how I thought I was just changing my mind on when to get gas. I could have left my thoughts as, "Oh boy, good thing I wasn't in that lane." But I chose to look for God, and knew, "Wow, if it had been up to me, I would have been in that lane."
This is why I was not disappointed with the worship service last night. Because I have a deep inner knowledge that God is with me, and I chose to see him last night. As the bible says, not just at worship services, but "In ALL your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight."
These are just the thoughts running through my head, and I may end up disagreeing with myself in the future. But I am curious what others would say about this. If you disagree, well then I hope you'll at least enjoy some pictures from my week :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Only at ORU

He has two eyes, he has two feet, he sleeps by day, stalks by night.
I am sleeping more or less comfortably tonight on a friend's dorm room floor. I was screaming while running around the whole building earlier this evening. A fire alarm went off in another dorm building, and I greeted each person as they exited the building with, "Hi, I'm Anna, I'm homeless too." All this, because of a bat.
I was in my room talking with my roommate Jonnah, when her jaw dropped and she asked if I just saw something fly by. We popped our heads out into the hall, and something swooshed past us again.
Word quickly spread through out the entire floor, a bird had invaded our dorm building. Screeches and squeals filled the air, when I announced, "That's not just a bird, that's a bat!"
Cameras were filming around every corner as our screaming turned to loud laughter. Then the worst thing happened. The bat was trapped in our room! We waited over 30 minutes for security to arrive. Shortly before they did, two girls got sick of waiting for security, and went in the room trying to find it themselves. They couldn't find it!! Security got in there, went through all our personals, climbed on top of everything; the darn thing was no where to be found! Finally everyone gave up and decided it must have found a way out. Everyone calmed and dispersed to various places they were supposed to be. Jonnah and I were left there wondering, "Do they really expect us to be ok sleeping in there with that thing?!" And thus we were both to chicken to be in our room, we found different people's floors to sleep on.
And that folks, is how a bat made me homeless at ORU. Oh and how about that awkward moment when you are sleeping on a friend's floor, and you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and accidentally lock yourself out of their room and have to wake them up to let you in :3 Ok, I admit I did giggle just a tiny bit at that!
Speaking of awkward moments, how about being at Walmart and asking an employee some questions about a product and they act like they have no clue. Ok, ok, so actually, I saw a man in a uniform with a name tag. Went up and asked him some questions about a product, and he honestly did pretty good a BSing an answer. But still I could tell he didn't know much. I thanked him for his help, but started to walk away thinking, "Jeez, Walmart doesn't train their employees very well." That is when I had the gut wrenching epiphany, that his name tag did not say Walmart on it! Ha! Oh Anna, Anna, Anna, the trouble you get yourself into.
I failed to mention why I was at Walmart. That is a story in itself. I had my laptop sitting on my bed. My cell phone was on top of it, and they were both plugged into an outlet, charging. My phone rang, and I hurried to answer it. The cord wrapped around the laptop, and sent it flying when I pulled my phone. There was a loud crash, followed with the violent homicide of my faithful laptop. Rest in pieces my friend, rest in pieces.
9 months ago when I sat up in bed in the middle of the night to fill out an ORU application, because a word from God, I had no idea what when I got to Oklahoma all this would happen in my first week. Only at ORU have I been stalked by a rodent with wings, scared a poor guy into trying to answer computer questions, catapulted a laptop, been the culprit in a computer homicide, and been stranded with only a friends floor to sleep on.

Monday, August 13, 2012

What a cool day!

Today at ORU was the "Welcome" Chapel for all new students and their families. I have moved into my dorm, and get along great with the girls on my floor.
After Chapel, my parents and I drove about 20 minutes away, to check out an address of a person who was possibly my step dad Steve's cousin Paula who he lost contact with 20 years ago. We pulled in the driveway, and as Steve was about to knock on the door, a young man opened with a "Who the heck are you?" expression. His mom followed and Steve recognized her almost immediately. He got all excited when he said, "Hi I'm Steve, your cousin."
We had been nervous about how the meeting would go, as no one had seemed to have contact with her in a very long time. But she squealed with excitement and gave him a hug. We sat in her dining room with her for a good two hours, and she and Steve got all caught up. She said at the end of the visit, "There's some people I need to give a call to reconnect."
When we left Paula's house my mom and Steve both needed to get some new sandals. So we stopped at DSW shoes. It was a fun visit for me, and even better, we got Italian food for dinner afterwards.

After Italian food, the parents went to church with me at Victory Christian Center, right across the street from campus. We were all suprised, and my mom and step dad were ecstatic, when we found out the church was having a guest speaker, their favorite preacher, Keith Moore.
When I got home from the service, the girls on my floor were having a party in the largest room. It was half an hour of being silly and singing loudly and over-dramatically while flailing...ehem..dancing around. Overall, Sunday was a very memorable and fun way to spend my 2nd day on campus.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I made it to Oklahoma!

4 days and 2,000 miles later, I've made it to Oklahoma. We went through Texas for about two hours (another state I have thought about settling down in) I love the weather here so much! It is hot, so hot, and yet windy to cool you off. You can see for miles because it is so flat. But the trees add just enough green to make me not miss the Oregon color. One thing I can say I very much DISLIKE is the big giant bugs here. The campus is a lot better at keeping them out than this KAO site we are parked at in a tent for the night.

I can't get over how beautiful the sky is here! It's so big! The sun set was so deep in rich color, it looked like a ball I could just pluck right off the sight and hold in my hand. At night the stars feel like they are wrapped around me. From one edge of the horizon to the other, I stand in awe.
The crickets are so loud in the night, it sounds almost like a melody. I can understand why so much music is written out here.

Tomorrow is move in day. The school emailed me a schedule of the day, and they have it filled with activities. What more can I say, than, I am so excited for what the future holds!

Friday, August 10, 2012

On The Road Day 3

The sunsets and sunrises in this area are simply amazing. Last night I got out of the car and went, “Wow.” Then when I stepped out of the tent this morning, again I said out loud unintentionally, “Wow.” This country is all so beautiful; despite the mass amount of bugs. As we were driving down the road this morning, I felt a small something in my mouth. I swished it around a bit trying to figure out what part of my breakfast it was. Finally I spit it out and discovered it was a fat ugly bug! EWE!

Still in Utah I snapped this picture of my parents. I loved it. It made me think, “Man they are a great couple.” It’s just one of the many things I see that amaze me how God can take something broken and create something beautiful. Each of them had their dark days, but the hard times molded them to be perfect for each other, to fill in those missing parts and bring light to the dark places.
On our drive so far, we received not one but two cracks in the windshield from flying rocks. Mom was a bit more upset than Steve.

I’ve sent out an SOS on facebook to all the Tulsa people for a good hair stylist. My new hair cut has settled and I realized while in a rest area bathroom, that I am a shamed owner of a mullet. Hoping someone can fix it somehow before I get on campus. As for now, I continue through 1,000 miles of the United States, showing off my hillbilly side. I just hope Bubba doesn’t offer me some crow for dinner. I may cry.

The first thing I have noticed in New Mexico is the over abundance of fireworks advertisements. For such a dry, arid state, they sure do seem to love their fire starters, ehem, works. There are giant billboards every few miles “Fireworks all year!” One thing I love is all the sunflowers. There are crop fields with them, and random patches in the wilderness. They always leave me with a jolly girl feeling when I see their big bright yellow petals. I had a special new appreciation for them and their offspring the year I played softball in hi school. Ironically I just noticed Steve is in the driver’s seat munching on sunflower seeds.
The day is very hot and the night is cold in New Mexico. Tomorrow we go through Texas, and then we'll stop for the night in Tulsa. Yay! 1 more day!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On The Road Day 2

9:30 a.m. Last night in Idaho was H-O-T-T Hot! I have a new appreciation for how the little gingerbread man must feel as he is placed in the oven. That’s what it felt like in our tent. Our campsite is located in a quiet area, and by quiet I mean there’s a main highway on the left, a busy train track on the right, a cement trucking site in front, and a redneck trailer park behind. The one neat thing about this place is that it has free internet so I was able to get a snort of my drug of choice, facebook.
My parents are looking intensely at a map trying to figure out how on earth Mapquest was telling us to take these no-name roads. Now they have figured out the CORRECT route and we are hitting the road….only 3 hours behind schedule, yay!
10:25 a.m. Back at the campsite, the camp host was telling my step dad that the clouds we saw in the sky were not rain clouds, but smoke from wildfires about an hour down the road. We are now driving and seeing the fires she was talking about. A giant cloud of brown smoke lingers on our left with noticeable flames every few hundred feet. Being I have no sense of smell (congenital anosmia) I asked my mom if it stinks. She just nodded her head rapidly and then said, “Oh yeah.” It’s kinda weird to see bright green corn fields on my right, and nothing but thick brown haze on my left.
9:30p.m. We stopped in Moab, Utah for the night. The campground is much nicer, the view is awesome, and the temperature is perfect. I finally got a nice long warm shower. The best part of all, I'm at the half way mark to Tulsa. 1,000 miles down, 1,000 miles to go! Tomorrow we'll cross through two more states, Colorado and New Mexico.
I snapped this picture just about 20 miles from our campgrounds,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

On the road Day 1

So here I am, on the road. The journey has begun. We left early this morning, and will be traveling through the several states today through Friday. Saturday is new student orientation.
Our first stop was in Hood River.
Twenty minutes later we were on the road again. It was cloudy and cold when I woke up, and the clouds were worsening as we packed. By Hood River there were only patches of clouds, now I am looking at a blue sky with only a couple dots of white in between. It seems the skies ahead get brighter with each passing mile. And so is the horizon of my future. Each mile is a step closer to college, to a career, to friendships, to marriage, to the rest of my life. Each mile closer, is a mile closer to accomplishing my goals and dreams; travel, adventure, career, and changing lives. There are many unknowns, but I know from my experiences the past two years, it will all be fine and God will continue to show how amazing he is.
My funny bone was tickled when 5 miles past the Idaho border, I saw a truck carrying potatoes. We have stopped for the night in a little town called Mountain Home, ID. We went to a little "Ma and Pop" Diner. I had a delectable root beer float with cherry on top before dinner, and a 1/2 lb beef cheeseburger with mashed potato and gravy on top for my meal. I don't know which I loved more, the good food or the total old fashioned small town diner environment. While we travel the road, my brother has been busy working on moving into my old bedroom. He informed me, "This is the way to clean out a room" .....
Good luck to Nick at home, and onward to Utah we go!

Monday, August 6, 2012

In 24 hours....

In 24 hours I will be walking out the front door, and not coming back for a long time, the longest I have ever been gone. I don't know when I will be back, I don't know the circumstances that will have me there. Will I move back, or just visit? Right now I do not even have a guy I am interested in; could I be wearing a shiny ring next time I step through that door?
I got a hair cut today, cleared out my room, and am just waiting for my mom to get home to pack all my stuff in her car. My brother set up Pandora for me in the house, so I have had nostalgic, going away, type corny music going all day. I thought at this point in the game I would be a bawling wreck, but all I feel is excitement and joy. I've had some very bad memories in this house, and some really great ones too. Over all I feel joy and I am grateful for this house that built me, and I am ready to move on.
Right now I am not sure what life has in store for me; but tomorrow I get to start finding out. I'm becoming Anna.